Hemlock Island begins with an intriguing, but not very original, premise.
Laney has recently divorced her husband, Kit. She refused alimony but agreed to keep the remote private island where they lived. Unfortunately, she cannot maintain such an elaborate estate on her teacher’s salary. She has been renting out the house to make ends meet. Lately, someone has been leaving occult signs and hexes on the property.
The most recent discovery is blood sprayed in a closet complete with scratch marks as if someone was trying to get out. When the latest renters call to complain, Laney and her ward and niece, Madison, rush out to the island. When they arrive at the island, Kit, his sister and Laney’s former college best friend Sadie, and Sadie’s brother all invite themselves to the island too. Strange stuff begins to occur.
I am trying to not reveal the plot. However, I do want to explain my rating. Someone is doing the stuff. There are limited people on the island. It seems very Agatha Christie until about halfway through the book. Then I began to wonder how the author was going to extricate herself from a puzzle with seemingly no answer. The solution, unfortunately, was so unbelievable that I would have thrown the book across the room (but it was my new kindle, so I contented myself with shaking my head while quietly cursing).
Hemlock Island is best for horror rather than thriller fans. Since I prefer a smoother mashup than demonstrated here, 3 stars from me.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.